State investigating after contaminants found in Spokane Fire Dep - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

State investigating after contaminants found in Spokane Fire Department air compressors

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

The state is investigating the Spokane Fire Department after contaminants were reportedly found in the firefighters' air tanks.

In response, the fire department immediately shut down all three of the city's air compressors, which are used to fill the close to 500 tanks used by more then 300 Spokane firefighters.

Initial tests done by the City of Spokane say they found lead and other impurities in some of the tanks. The city is doing additional tests to make sure it wasn't a bad sample, but if the results are confirmed, the state could hand the city a hefty fine. Dave Kovac with the firefighters union says the whole thing is a matter of safety.

The Spokesman Review reports that the same day the state received the complaint, the city council denied the department $192,000 to replace two of the compressor tanks, citing lack of information. President Ben Stuckart told the newspaper he was more concerned with how the department allowed all three of the compressors to become inoperable at once, calling it a lack of planning by the fire department.

Editor’s note: The story was updated on Jan. 4, 2018 to remove an error that incorrectly attributed early testing results to a health consultant called Veritox Inc. Veritox is testing the city’s breathing equipment, but early tests were completed by the city.

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